Empty Spaces

Empty Spaces explore the grey, unregulated area of experimental therapies.

Some areas of biomedical enquiry proceed in the spaces between existing areas of legal regulation. One example is experimental therapy, conducted in the grey area between well- established medical practice and the highly-regulated domain of clinical trials. This space exists for a number of reasons; for example, because patients run out of treatment options, and/or because there are insufficient numbers of patients or insufficient baseline evidence with which to begin a trial.

This space will address the following research questions:

  • What values, attitudes and behaviours inform research in spaces where law is silent and professional discretion is considerable?
  • How can empty regulatory spaces be populated in ways that strike an optimal balance between protection and promotion of interests, private and public?

Liminal Spaces

The key goal of this research is to provide the first-ever integrated, interdisciplinary and cross- cutting analysis of health research regulation (HRR). The research confronts the gaps between documented law and research practice – i.e liminal regulatory spaces – and promotes an holistic approach thus far absent in HRR.

The liminal spaces framework suggests opportunity to move within and between spaces, but also exposes uncertainty and instability. When this occurs in regulation, law is often called upon. Crucially, this research challenges that response.

Four research strands will engage stakeholders to ask: what is happening in the liminal spaces of HRR; what lessons can be learned across sectors and jurisdictions; and how can we better exploit liminal regulatory spaces?

The four strands are:

Clogged Spaces

Empty Spaces

Transitional Spaces

Dangerous Spaces